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Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in relation to man's dual nature
Frankenstein written by Mary Shelley when she was only nineteen years of age is considered to be one of the most fascinating novels in our literature. Such a fact is imaginatively approved in a strikingly fresh adaptation by Jonathan Pope for the Glasgow Citizens that takes off the congealed veneer of the horror film industry and makes out a truly attractive background of adventurism relating to scientific and philosophical levels. (Coveney, Frankenstein) Frankenstein relates to the duality of human nature and the manner in which humans are perceived by the society.
Mary Shelley is of the view that the treatment they attain due to societal perceptions will in the end draw out or contain some features of their nature. In brief, Frankenstein depicts the story of a scientific genius named Victor Frankenstein, whose studies made him to discover the way of creating a dual life. Forced by his passion, and thinking of nothing beyond the levels of scientific achievement and the resultant academic glory, Frankenstein makes use of this knowledge to form a quasi-human being. This single act transforms the lives of Frankenstein and the people around him in a manner that he had never visualized and he appears to be less powerful to do anything to curb the horrendous results of his activities. (Dean, Review of Frankenstein)
The novel deals with positive differences -- the sensible and bodily procedures from where differences result. The novel has the domination from the imagery of duality of human nature, the real difference from where all other differences result like male and female, master and slave, good and evil, human and inhuman. (Scottish Literature2: Mary Shelley- Frankenstein) We could understand the duality of human nature by means of the central character of the novel -- Victor Frankenstein. Frankenstein is being enveloped by loving friends and family who derive out his own kind nature, but when engulfed with his hideous creation, he turns out to be selfish and totally unsympathetic. The monster is being shown as indescribably grotesque and an evil being, but surprisingly there also seems to have a generous and loving nature that his treatment by humans has forced him to contain. The monster is shunned solely on the level of his appearance, only being provided the facility to display his kind nature by someone who is blind. It is the bitterness which he faces by such treatment which evolves his desire for revenge against the human race. The central character is thus the embodiment of the dual nature of human life. (Dean, Review of Frankenstein)
Electricity has the power of magnetism which includes the negative and positive forces which tend to pull away from one another. This illustration of the dual nature of electricity could be applied to several aspects of Frankenstein, inclusive of good against the evil, and even to Dr. Victor Frankenstein himself. He realizes the power he has; still he acts somehow. He has the entire control and the knowledge at the start, but in the end is left powerless. Victor produces life due to his own greed, and the monster troubles him to the end due of it. The monster to whom he provides life tries to deprive Victor of his own. One may also consider the dual nature of Victor Frankenstein and his monster as an added bigger force.
Frankenstein and his creation might show one being -- two different sides of a single entity creating a doppelganger relation. But it is difficult to derive which shows good and which shows evil -- the man or the monster. One would at the beginning take the assumption that the monster is the evil; still it is Dr. Frankenstein who forms the monster and then shies away from the responsibility. His cowardice not only makes way for the death of his younger brother, but also to that of the young girl who is accused of his murder. The monster has real moments of excellent intellectual capacity and rationality. He also acts as that of a conscious of Frankenstein's. Due to Victor's selfish and evil activities, the monster troubles him throughout. Ultimately, Victor finishes in a hellish, barren wasteland which is being chased by his own self creation. (Frankenstein: The Man and the Monster) The monster shows a level of duality, producing sympathy along with horror in all who hear his tale. (Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: Penguin Classics)
The next novel we shall look into is the 'The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' by Robert Louis Stevenson. This novel is considered to be one of the most popular illustrations of literature of the double or doppelganger, in which a person is either divided into two or more different personalities, or troubled by a shadow figure that might or might not be a suppressed or discarded half of him. (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) Thus the important matter discussed in 'The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' rotate around the dual nature of man, particularly the fight between the "good" and "evil" sides of personality. (The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde -- By Robert Louis Stevenson) The main characters in the novel namely Jekyll and Hyde are like a dual spilt personality, a single entity divided into two. (Gates, Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde)
Henry Jekyll, M.D. was person who was honest and wealthy and was known for his qualities of charitableness and was distinguished for religion. By the age of 50 he visualized on his life and made note of his progress and status in the world, understanding that he was already devoted to a profound sense of duplicity in life. As he mentioned it, a deep trench resulted in him inclusive of those levels of good and ill that make a division and compound man's duality. After analyzing in depth and continuously on this dual nature of man, Jekyll was of the opinion that man is not completely single, but is dual and he was also both and this started from a very early date. Dr. The main character Dr. Jekyll invents and then consumes a drug which makes his transformation both mentally and physically into a different person. After consuming the drug, Jekyll becomes the character Mr. Hyde, and this alter ego is an embodiment of the grotesque in several meanings of the term. (Robert Louis Stevenson: www.german.leeds.ac.uk)
Moral insensibility and insensate readiness to evil were the significant elements of Edward Hyde. The drug divides all which is bad in Jekyll's personality and this becomes codified in Edward Hyde. Hyde hence is nothing else but the evil present in Jekyll's nature. (Robert Louis Stevenson: www.german.leeds.ac.uk) When Jekyll is converted in Hyde, he can visualize things as himself and as his other half at the same time. Since Jekyll converts into the evil side of his nature into Edward Hyde he has two identities to play with -- that of Jekyll and Hyde and thereby he has the perfect life. But it could also be added that the truth is each Jekyll has his Hyde, over whom he does not have control and who threatens to take him over. Thus since evil is so deeply entrenched within oneself, self-salvation is not possible. (The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Pearls of Wisdom Lecture)
Next, the kind of dual nature of human life that the main characters in Jekyll and Hyde lead is not only false but is suicidal. As Stevenson says in his essay Lay Morals "We should not live alternately with our opposing tendencies in continual see-saw of passion and disgust, but seek some path on which the tendencies shall no longer oppose, but serve each other to common end." To behave alternatively, his tale shows, is to court the death of authenticity, the loss of one's self. If altruism and bestiality are both confided in human nature, then one must not only know this rationally as Jekyll had done, but must live a comfortable life with this knowledge. (Gates, Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde)
Jekyll and Hyde is hence from a single aspect, the record of a split personality, and the nature of the split is in its outline one now similar to a post-Freudian age, though one which Stevenson portrays with extreme sensitivity. Jekyll's opinion is that the split in his being has evolved much less from the prevalence within his psyche of an uncontrollable, passionate self in comparison to the force with which that self has been suppressed in relation to the elements of social convention. Jekyll's aspirations are two -- namely moral and social aspirations, yet they are also scientific aspirations, as that of Frankenstein. The biggest strength of Jekyll and Hyde in based on an attempt to link the two in a clear manner even than Mary Shelley had done, and to depict…[continue]
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